AAR  Vol.4 No.6 , November 2015
Identity Processes, Depression, and the Aging Self
—A Norwegian Study
ABSTRACT
The Identity Process Theory is a theory of how people adapt to aging. According to this theory, older people attribute their physical functioning to a more variable state of health or to their age. Health attributions per se help older people avoid negative thoughts and feelings about themselves and their own process of aging. We explored health versus age attributions, and their effects upon depressive symptoms and negativity toward aging among 359 older Norwegians (age range = 60 - 91 years of age). Aging pertained to psychosocial loss, physical change, and psychological growth. Data collected in the 2004 WHOQOL-OLD Norwegian Field Study were analyzed by using a MANOVA and a validatory path analysis. Our findings consistently supported health attributions in relation to psychosocial loss (X2 = 20.37, df = 10, p = 0.03; GFI = 0.98, AGFI = 0.95, RMSEA = 0.05), physical change (X2 = 35.03, df = 14, p = 0.000; GFI = 0.97, AGFI = 0.94, RMSEA = 0.06), and psychological growth (X2 = 22.22, df = 13, p = 0.05; GFI = 0.98, AGFI = 0.96, RMSEA = 0.04). Health attributions increased participants’ depressive symptoms and negativity toward aging, especially toward psychosocial loss (β= - 0.45, p = 0.000) and physical change (β= - 0.48, p = 0.000). We relate these theoretically contradictory findings to Norwegian cultural beliefs and values. We make recommendations for research, including normalizing depressive symptoms and cross-cultural investigations.

Cite this paper
Low, G. , Kalfoss, M. and Halvorsrud, L. (2015) Identity Processes, Depression, and the Aging Self
—A Norwegian Study. Advances in Aging Research, 4, 212-224. doi: 10.4236/aar.2015.46023.
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